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Caravels in space (Setting idea)

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Just a random idea that popped into my head after trying out a couple of space-sims (free space 2, independence war 2) over the last couple days. It's not actually an original idea, It was probably inspired by the "Storm" sci-fi comic by Martin Lodewijk and Don Lawrence (which I'm not sure is known outside the benelux), but I only realized that while writing this. Possibly it also has some similarities to spelljammer (an AD&D setting). The idea is roughly this: The setting is large bubble of atmosphere in space (in the comic this is maintained by an intelligent planet called pandarve, but that isn't the point here) in which there exists a solar system. Because the presence of oxygen everywhere between the planets of this solar system it is possible to sail from one planet to another in a caravel (or any other sailing ship) or possibly even 'swim'. The starting point for a game based on this would be something like fantasy-in-space (instead of the more common scifi-in-space and not necessarily something magical either). There could be things like space-ports floating in lagrange-points (sorry for the I-war ripoff) and whatever other kind of interesting stuff you could come up with. Oh btw, a Lagrange-point is the point between two planets where their respective gravitational fields cancel eachother out. Ofcourse there are a couple of problems, for example how do they launch from the surface of planets, as there is still gravity. How do they prevent themselves from floating off their ships in space, as gravity soon gets alot less. Etc, etc, but these are all things to think about. I'm just posting this here because I thought it was an interesting idea. I hope somebody likes it (maybe sometime, somewhere it could be good for a game). So let me know what you think and feel free to do something with it (although I'd be very interested to know what, if you don't mind). Edit: Oh and please don't go about trying to build a MMORPG with it, because sure it sounds cool, like any MMORPG idea out there (though not all in equal quantities), but you probably won't finish it and it might just ruin an otherwise completely innocent and possibly worthwhile idea.

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Hey, neat!

Hard science fiction author Larry Niven actually proposed something a bit close to this in his book, The Integral Trees, except his was a smoke ring around a star that consisted heavily of oxygen. The people inside were the descendants of convicts who had lost the use of most technology, but lived on these dozen mile long trees because they had gravity. You could jump off the tree to hunt (there were round shrubs all over the place forming a kind of asteroid forest) but you had to use swim fins to do it.

Another similar setting for ideas is Stephen Baxter's The Raft which could be more of what you want in that it's a universe that's no bigger than a few thousand light years, and is filled with breathable (though toxic in places) air and very low gravity.

It would certainly be an unusual environment!

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Read the Hyperion and Endymion novels by Dan Simmons. In one of the novels a breed of space-adapted humans ("Ousters") were in the process of growing a dyson sphere (the "Star Tree") around a star. Really amazingly fantastic imagery there...

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Hyperion pwns... haven't read Endymion yet... but apparently Leonardo DiCaprio has

DanSimmons.com: Hyperion movie has star interest
Posted by Tenacious - August 15, 2002
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Gangs of New York) is interested in the role of "Raul Endymion" in the movie adaptation of Hyperion (proposed in treatment form by Dan Simmons as one film or three), and is currently meeting with directors and studios to discuss the proposal. DiCaprio, who would both star and co-produce the feature, met on July 5 with Martin Scorcese, director of DiCaprio's new film The Gangs of New York.


O'course, dunno how things have gone since 2002.

Another good discussion on bubble worlds is Bruce Sterling's "Schismatrix" - but in his its a low-gravity rotating bubble with zero-G in the middle.

Still, I've always wanted to play with zero-G humanoids. My wet-dream game would be a steampunk rendition of Smoke Ring, done as a Tribes-like game where your bases are mobile airships.

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IIRC, Iain M. Banks also writes about something similar to this in his novel Excession. I that story there was a fully developed ecology inhabiting the air bubble, with large behemoths that house smaller organisms. It's mostly just a gimmick, though.

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